It all started with Paris. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, a young man proposes to his girlfriend, cheered on by delighted tourists. In that second, everything changes, not just for the happy couple, but for the family and friends awaiting their return in Bridgeport, Ireland...
Leila's been nursing a badly broken heart since her love-rat husband just upped and left her one morning, but she's determined to put on a brave face for the bride. Vonnie, a widow and exceptional cake-maker, is just daring to let love back into her life, although someone seems determined to stop it. And Grace, a divorced head teacher, finds the impending wedding of her son means that she's spending more time with her ex-husband. After all those years apart, is it possible she's made a mistake?
With her warmth and insight, Cathy Kelly weaves a delightful tale spinning out from a once-in-a-lifetime moment, drawing together a terrific cast of characters who feel like old friends. IT STARTED WITH PARIS is the sparkling new novel from No.1 bestseller Cathy Kelly.
About Cathy Kelly:
Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. A No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia, her trademark is warm Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, sense of community and strong female characters at the heart. She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS. Find out more at www.cathykelly.com
Q and A with Cathy:
Hi Cathy, thanks so much for stopping by at The Book Corner today.
You have written many books, which was your favourite to write and why?
My latest novel is always my favourite as I’m closest to those characters, so definitely It Started With Paris. That said, Woman to Woman has a special place in my heart because it was my first book, which began the journey to where I luckily am today. Mind you, not sure I could read it again as it was written so long ago, I would just find the errors!
What inspired you to write your first book?
l I always loved reading and lived in the world of my imagination. I used to tell my little sister stories at bedtime and wrote the inevitable teenage/dark poems, but I never thought of writing as a career. My love of writing meant I ended up as a journalist and I did try to write two books before I got serious, at age 27, and started my first novel. I didn’t want to leave the planet without having written a book, mad though that sounds.
If you weren't an author what would you have wanted to do as a career?
I think that I’d be a psychoanalyst – writing is very similar!
What book are you reading now?
Ooh loads of them! I just got one called The Human Age by Diane Ackerman, an award-winning nature writer, which is about how humans are now the single most dominate force of change on the planet. I love science books. Freakonomics was a fav. I’m also finishing Ann Leary’s The Good House.
When you are not reading and writing what do you like to do?
I love snuggling up on the sofa with my family, the Puplets of Loveliness, crocheting and watching Strictly Come Dancing. It’s the simple things, isn’t it? film.
Your covers for your novels are lovely, do you have a say on the designs?
Thank you! I do adore the cover of It Started With Paris and once I’d seen it, I could imagine the real thing at night when it glitters. Like most writers, I get copy approval on the covers.
What was the hardest part about writing a book?
Banishing the negative voice in my head that’s telling me it’s rubbish and perseverance. Also trying not to get too panicked about an unproductive day, hoping it will even out over a week or a bad week, in that hope that within a month, it will have balanced out.
Do you have any advice for other wanting to begin a career in writing?
You have to take a leap of faith as you never really know if you can do it or not. Once you’ve taken the leap, keep going and don’t be too hard on yourself. it’s not an easy job, no matter how easy it looks. Trust in yourself, too.
I am a big fan of editing endlessly and think that’s how many great voices are never heard because people write, send their novel in, and haven’t edited it enough.
I have an advice section on my website http://cathykelly.com/advice
Do you have a favourite author?
Always a difficult one to answer!!! Eeeek! I always feel that books touch you at certain times and the ones that mean so much to me were the ones I read as a teenager, hence Colette’s Cheri, The Lord of the Rings, Molly Keane’s novels and Alexandre Dumas. Yes, I loved French novels!!! Strange that so many years later, I have written a book which starts in Paris!
I like to write about real life with all its shades of grey, and add in humour, sad bits and hopefully, end with you feeling better about life and the world….so in this novel, I start off with a romantic proposal on the Eiffel Tower, and then move into a list of characters who are all either divorced or alone. There’s Vonnie, who is American, has a son and has come to live in Ireland because her husband died tragically a few years ago. She has finally found love with a previously married dad-of-two, but his ex-wife hasn’t moved on and is outraged at this romance. Then there’s Leila, who had a whirlwind romance, got married, and then – six months ago – was dumped rapidly by her husband for another woman. Finally, there’s Grace, a school principal who has a civilised divorce with her ex, and when their son gets engaged, they see each other a lot more. Grace sees her ex with his new partner, she is alone and she wonders if they should ever have split up in the first place… all these characters entertwine amid a wedding..!!!!
Thanks so much Cathy for answering these questions. Good luck with your novel, I'm sure it is going to be a hit!
Thanks a million, it was a pleasure. I hope you enjoy it, xCathy.
It started with Paris is published by Orion on 9th October
This giveaway is for UK only, please enter via the raffle copter below. There are 3 hard back copies to be won!